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[STUDY] Influencer Costs Soared 1000% Since 2014

Average Cost Per Instagram Photo Is US$1,642, Study Claims

A recent study claims that the average cost for a sponsored Instagram photo has jumped from US$134 in 2014 to US$1,642 in 2019.

The data, compiled by influencer marketplace Izea, examined negotiated rates between marketers and creators ranging from micro-influencers to celebrities, since 2006.

Far from just focusing on Instagram, the company provided historical average transaction prices paid for sponsored blog posts, Instagram Posts, Facebook posts, Tweets, and YouTube videos.

2014-2019 Sponsored Post Price Increases by Platform:

  • A Facebook Status Update has risen 49.4x from $8 to $395 on average
  • A YouTube Video has risen 16x from $420 to $6,700 on average
  • A Twitter Status Update has risen 14.6x from $29 to $422 on average
  • An Instagram Photo has risen 12.3x from $134 to $1,643 on average
  • A Blog Post has risen 3.54x from $407 to $1,442 on average

From Humble Beginnings To BIG Business

Influencer marketing has been around, in it’s current social media format, since the early/mid 2000s. Starting first in the nascent blogging space, before expanding to the social platform level in the subsequent decade.

In fact, I was lucky enough to work on one of the UK’s first ever mainstream influencer campaigns in 2006 for the launch of the Sony Bravia Paint TV campaign.

In the early days of influencer marketing, little activity was paid for, unless your marketing campaign was a lemon. However, in instances where activity was paid, costs were relatively minor, unlike today.

The average cost of a sponsored blog post has risen from $7.39 in 2006 to $1,442.27 in 2019, an increase of 195x.

In 2017 an estimated US$570 million was spent globally on influencer marketing. In 2020, according to the World Advertising Research Center, it will be between US$5 billion and US$10 billion.

But Is It Worth It?

Despite the meteoric rise of influencer investment, the jury is still out on its effectiveness for many organisations.

Outside of ecommerce, where marketing attribution is more straightforward, it is challenging for organisations to consistently pinpoint value generated.

Part of the problem with influencer marketing stems from expectation from businesses.

To date, influencer marketing has predominately offered an alternative route for brands to doing organic social posts. Since until recent times, few influencer posts were boosted, due to the influencers supposed high levels of organic reach and engagement.

It is herein that some of the issues with typical social media influencer relations arise.

Organic social posting (i.e. not ads) is somewhat limited as a marketing tactic due to the vagaries or social media algorithms. Even if a business has sky-high levels of organic reach WHICH followers are ACTUALLY seeing the posts?

For example, SMK has around 16,000 followers on Facebook and a decent organic post should reach circa 10% of our followers. Who exactly is seeing it? Senior brand managers at Sanitarium? Creative leads at the ABC? Social media team leaders for Air New Zealand?

No one knows definitively.

Therefore, whom a business is reaching organically is a mystery most of the time.

Hence the organic side of social media marketing is most reliably useful for branding and awareness. If anything.

Influencer marketing, therefore, usually would fall under a similar banner. Due to the predominantly organic nature of posting.

While influencer marketing can drive sales, traffic, leads and enquiries, it is very hard to accurately forecast and/or estimate. Not perhaps unlike PR.

Therefore, a smart move is to often utilise it as a marketing tactic if you want branding or awareness, with anything else being treated as a bonus.

If you are not after branding or awareness, then maybe it's not the most suitable tactic to exploit. Presently.

Influencer – Advertising Crossover Gets Interesting

With influencer marketing on track to top $10 billion per annum, it was only a matter of time before social platforms attempted to clip the ticket.

Or, in some cases, clipping their wings to reduce their organic reach. As has been supposedly the case on Instagram in 2019, before the removal of Likes.

Facebook this month has expanded the roll out of it’s Brand Collab Manager, while YouTube’s talking up its Famebit influencer offering and Twitter recently launched ArtHouse in July.

According to US tech bigshot Scott Galloway, Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, et al. have all maxed-out their core businesses and the next few years will see them exploring market adjacencies and new territory to drive growth.

For Facebook and Google, the influencer space is a sitting duck.

Not only will the social platforms take over the space, but they are also supplementing with a raft of new marketing solutions and ads. Most notably Branded Content Ads which rolled out in June.

As influencer marketing shifts to favour platforms and paid influencer amplification in 2020, this will most likely also make it a more effective marketing tactic:

  1. Reducing fraudulent influencer activity (yet probably not removing)
  2. Expanding the scope beyond awareness and reach, through improvements in ad targeting and precision
  3. Improving return on investment via more comprehensive paid analytics and pixel tracking

The downside is, it’ll be dearer.

However, a costly but more reliable marketing tactic is more appealing than a cheaper, erratic one.

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